Northwest NEWS

March 5, 2001


Guest Editorial

by Jon Carson,
   We as a family wanted to bring an upcoming event to the community's attention the week of February 25-March 3 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
   This event is sponsored by EDAP (Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention), which is based here in the Seattle area and was founded to eliminate eating disorders and body dissatisfaction through prevention, education, referral and support services, advocacy, training and research.
   Eating disorders are powerful illnesses that are very harmful physically and emotionally to our young people.
   Our daughter was diagnosed with an eating disorder this fall and through the help of some well informed medical professionals and even more information hunting on our own, we were able to get her the help she needed.
   This illness affects far more young people than most people realize, and many go for years without getting help and just suffer alone. It can lead to many life-long medical complications if not treated.
   It can damage the heart, the kidneys and bones, and in women, it can effect their ability to have children. These young people can suffer for years and still keep functioning even though they are doing great harm to their bodies.
   Our goal is to bring this problem out into the open so that families and friends will be more aware of the warning signs, and not be afraid to ask questions and seek help if they see someone close to them that needs help.
   The reality of our current affluent lifestyle is that it can lead to a great deal of pressure and stress, especially for adolescents and young adults, particularly between the ages of 12 to 25 years.
   Young people who are overachievers and good students are quite often the most likely to be afflicted with this illness, it preys on our best and brightest, the quiet and the active.
   Pay attention to your kids health. If they change their eating habits, bruise easily, are constantly cold, don't socialize as usual, lose their energy easily, or have a hard time concentrating, take them to your primary care physician and have their orthostatics checked.
   Many times the eating disordered person has an abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure. This is a risk for heart failure.
   Another component of many kids with an eating disorder is depression, the two often go hand in hand. If these kids get the help they need early on, they can have a more successful recovery.
   Don't be afraid to care. They are the most precious thing we have, with an unlimited future ahead of them.